In response to the most violent weekend in Chicago since 2016, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced plans to deploy additional officers to the neighborhoods most wracked by the recent gang shootings.
Johnson addressed the violence at a Tuesday news conference, his second since the weekend bloodshed, saying that 430 officers have been added to patrols in five of the hardest-hit districts on the city’s South and West sides, the Chicago Tribune reported. Those numbers are set to increase to 600 by the weekend, he said.
The announcement comes after 11 people were fatally shot and 74 others badly wounded between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Monday in an eruption of gun violence attributed mostly to gangs. So far, no one has been arrested in the deadly shootings but Johnson said police have several promising leads.
As part of the added manpower, beat officers will have extended work hours while tactical unit officers from the hardest-hit districts will have their days off canceled, the newspaper reported. Officers from the CPD’s fugitive apprehension unit, who work alongside deputy U.S. marshals to catch criminals, will also have no days off.
The bloody weekend comes in a year where the city has actually seen improvements in shootings and homicides from last year. So far, Chicago has recorded 327 homicides, an impressive 20 percent drop from 411 in 2017.
Much of the recent violence occurred on the city’s Westside, but the Southside’s Gresham district saw the largest single shooting, in which eight people, including a 14-year-old girl, were shot. Police are also investigating the death of a woman found tied up in a bathtub, according to the Tribune.
It’s unclear what sparked the rise in violence this past weekend, but Johnson denied that the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park was to blame, after critics claimed the event took away police resources for the rest of the city. He also expressed frustration over the fact that his department was being blamed for not stopping the bloodshed.
“It’s the same individuals that continuously commit these crimes,” he said. “Where’s the accountability for them?”